The Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC) is hosting a new series of Virtual Book Talks. This installment features Brigitte Fielder, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who will present on her recent book Relative Races: Genealogies of Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-century America (Duke University Press, 2020).
In Relative Races, Brigitte Fielder presents an alternative theory of how race is ascribed. Contrary to notions of genealogies by which race is transmitted from parents to children, the examples Fielder discusses from nineteenth-century literature, history, and popular culture show how race can follow other directions: Desdemona becomes less than fully white when she is smudged with Othello's blackface, a white woman becomes Native American when she is adopted by a Seneca family, and a mixed-race baby casts doubt on the whiteness of his mother.
Fielder shows that the genealogies of race are especially visible in the racialization of white women, whose whiteness often depends on their ability to reproduce white family and white supremacy. Using black feminist and queer theories, Fielder illustrates how interracial kinship follows non-heteronormative, non-biological, and non-patrilineal models of inheritance in nineteenth-century literary culture.
The Virtual Book Talk Series showcases authors of recently published scholarly monographs, digital-equivalents, and creative works broadly related to book history and print culture. Each installment includes an informal presentation from the author and a Q&A with the audience. These talks are streamed live for registered participants and are recorded for posterity. Talks typically last 45 minutes.
Questions may be directed to Kevin Wisniewski, Director of Book History and Digital Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on future PHBAC book talks may be found at https://www.americanantiquarian.org/virtual-book-talks.